Tale as old as time: M3GAN film review

Photo by: Charlie Martin

Overall rating: 2.5/5

M3GAN is a horror and science fiction film that was released on Jan. 6 in Canada. The movie follows an artificially-intelligent robot doll coming to life. American screenwriter Akela Cooper wrote the screenplay and the film was directed by Gerard Johnstone, a New Zealand director. 

The movie stars Allison Williams as “Gemma,” Violet McGraw as “Cady,” and three actresses; Amie Donald, Jenna Davis and Kimberley Crossman are credited as “M3GAN.”

The writing is very simple and dull, and it’s easy to understand why. The “doll comes to life” plot in horror movies is nothing new, so the movie feels predictable and anticlimactic. It feels like a movie you might’ve watched before; think Annabelle (2014). The only refreshing thing about the writing is how it combines technology and horror; it portrays how artificial intelligence might outsmart human beings and take control of us one day—but then again, this kind of thing has already been played out in movies like I, Robot (2004).

The directing and filming is satisfactory for a sci-fi movie but poor for a horror film. The few jump scares it has are cliche and predictable, but this might depend on the viewer’s setting. It’s best to watch M3GAN in a theater to get the best experience with regards to sound and overall quality, watching it on a device at home just doesn’t give that “scary movie” feel. 

The movie does use effective scary soundtracks to dramatize some tragic scenes, but that isn’t necessarily exemplary since that is the status quo for a mainstream horror movie anyways. When it comes to retaining the viewer’s attention, some scenes just aren’t up to par; they have dialogues so mundane you might start snoozing, however, they do align with the plot of the film.

Acting is an art that can be very contingent and subjective, how an actor or actress portrays a character might not be what the director envisioned or vice versa, and what one film critic might call an amazing performance job, another might overlook. Therefore, without disregarding the cast’s individual crafts, M3GAN could’ve used better actors. There are times in the movie where you can tell they are “acting.” You can almost picture the script of some dialogues as the characters are saying their lines, especially with some of the supporting cast. 

All in all, M3GAN is an undemanding remake of some familiar movie plots. Seemingly, the only original thought behind its screenplay is the combination of the sci-fi and horror genres, linking how artificial intelligence, if used misguidedly, might turn into a real life horror-show for human beings. 

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